Aug 272013
 
TeamAttack01

Yeah, team attacks are a thing. Don’t mind the fire.

NIS America has a reputation for making games with quirky characters and interesting situations, and Disgaea 2 doesn’t fall far from the family tree. I wish more than anything that I had the kind of time that needs to be devoted to a game like Disgaea, but honestly I need to leave my living room from time to time. There’s so much to do in this game, it can keep you playing for hundreds of hours. NIS seems to realize that the best way to get people playing a game is just make the level cap higher than most games even think of (standing at a whopping 9999), and that alone keeps people with their controller for days on end. It always feels like a grindfest to make sure you are ready to handle the next group of enemies and puzzles. The story focuses around a human named Adell who’s the only human left in his hometown. Everyone else has been turned into monsters by the evil Overlord Zenon, and Adell has made it his mission to defeat Zenon and bring his friends and family back to their original human form. His mother decides to help Adell by performing a summoning ritual to bring Zenon to him, only to accidentally bring forth the Overlord’s only daughter. As you can imagine, things get wacky from then on out.

The game hasn’t changed much from its predecessor as far as gameplay goes, keeping the turn based tile board RPG elements that made the game stand out in the Playstation 2 era. The addition of Geo Panels adds a layer (albeit small layer) of challenge to the combat to give something besides just beating enemies to death. The Geo Panels are on certain tiles of the battle maps and can do anything from increase attack, to send characters halfway across the map. None of these require too much thought though and can usually just be bulldozed through without having toSword2screen03-1 stress over thinking every move through. There is also the item world, which is where every item in your inventory has its own world inside it with its own horde of enemies and items and for each floor cleared the item you went into gets a small stat boost. This allows you to level your characters up as well as get your favorite weapons boosted up to have an edge against your enemies.

Skill-Adellscreen27Visually wise the game looks better than the original, and it even has a couple of fully animated cutscenes. The characters are still a little retro RPG looking, and the battle maps aren’t anything particularly special to look at. But the attacks that the characters perform are almost all explosive and over the top, the higher level moves you unlock are borderline planet destroying, and they’re all fun to watch. The game can be sped up and the attack scenes skipped, and that helps eliminate the line of repetitiveness that people can begin to feel after playing for a couple of hours. The music is all fun to listen to, and the only real complaint I have here is the Item world music. Each level had the same music over and over, and for a place I spent a majority of my time grinding my characters and getting better gear I would have preferred something different to listen to. Character voices aren’t too annoying, and having voice acted scenes is really a plus.

There really isn’t enough time for me to put into this game and be satisfied. The level cap is extremely high, and that alone can keep me playing for a long time. But even the inclusion of things like the Item world, which is a serious time add-on to your overall play time in the game just due to all the secrets you can find in it alone. There is also the Dark Senate, which can be used as a way to increase the choices in one of the shops in town or to unlock optional areas or special character types. You spend Mana, which is rewarded for killing monsters, to suggest certain topics to the senate and then can bribe them to join your side, and if no luck there and you’re powerful enough, just beat them into submission. Feel like your character’s not strong enough, even though he or she is a very high level? That’s ok, you can use the Senate to reincarnate your character from level one with a stat boost based on how much Mana you have to put into it. Disgaea 2 is a game that asks for a lot of time, but it’s so much fun to level up characters and see how powerful of a team you can actually make.

Playstation 3

Graphics

80
 

Audio

75
 

Gameplay

80

Creativity

75
 

Execution

85
 

Offset

83
    

8

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

ps031bu1602Prinny Trouble

And just cuz I can.

Jul 102013
 

 

 NintendoDirect

 

 

As some of you may know there is a petition going on at the moment to get Nintendo to make their current devices region free (which has at the time of writing 20,000 signatures). This has also affected me most recently with trying to review an eshop game for this site, which turns out I cannot do because ALL Nintendo related software is region locked. With Sony and Microsoft hardware now being region free it’s hard for them to put up any argument regarding why there should be a need for locking, especially in this day and age. In an interview with IGN Satoru Iwata states that:

 

“There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we’re required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want.” (Though it is to be noted that this interview was conducted before Microsoft announced region free for their console)

 

To me this is absolutely ridiculous; he must be stuck in the 90s for this kind of thinking. Doesn’t he know about the Internet? People are sharing their own cultures every day, even on their own social application ‘Miiverse’. Individuals from different nations are conversing with each other every second of everyday, as we do not live in such a restrictive world compared to 15 years ago in terms of communication. The Internet has made it possible for me to communicate with YOU even though you may not reside in the UK, even though our cultures and customs may be different. However we have one very important thing in common, we’re interested in games (and understand English, OK two then). Don’t get me wrong there are linguistic issues present, and living in the E.U I understand this greatly, but because the games are going to get released eventually across regions surely it doesn’t matter if a few of the more eager import from abroad, because as we know the majority of releases happen in N.A before the E.U. So if you haven’t noticed Nintendo many on the continent can understand English, so why are you stopping me from getting a game a few (if not more, Shin Megami Tensei IV I’m looking at you) months earlier just because I’m in a different region!  

 

I really do question Nintendo’s logic sometimes (and since the release of the Wii U even more so) their philosophy is same as twenty years ago, the major difference is that back then they were on top and could dictate what goes where. But now they struggling to get messages across, especially for the Wii U as they relied on the huge Wii base to take note of this console, but they didn’t (they could have eluded a whole lot of trouble if they just called it the Wii 2). 

 

Maybe this whole region locking business is to with sales, maybe they are afraid that if people just import games, those games won’t sell enough in that region. But my argument is that only a few groups of people will do this, and isn’t it through these ‘hard-core’ gamers that others get the information from, so isn’t this a good thing?  Though not to undermine localisation, it is incredibly important that games make sense in the respective country of release, as what makes sense in Japan may not make sense in France without prior knowledge of culture and customs. However with the recent announcements made by the other big two is it really viable for Nintendo just to carry on?

Your thoughts? (I think that they will carry on, because no one does stubborn like Nintendo)

(on another note) Just as soon as I have put the finishing touches to this article Nintendo seems fit to deny Evo 2013 permission to broadcast Super smash Brothers: Melee (IGN) after these guys have raised $95,000 in aid of breast cancer research foundation for Melee to be included in the tournament. I don’t know about you guys but I think they have lost it. I mean what are Nintendo trying to protect, through them doing this what they have attained is a lot of negative press. Nintendo have gone beyond conservative to ridiculous. (Update: Nintendo have changed their minds, so Melee will be broadcast at Evo 2013)

 

(so get on Miiverse or twitter and say WTF!)

Jul 102013
 

♪ He’s Robin Jubber, and he’s gone to code. And I do not think anyone knows what we’re doing here. ♫

♫ Everyone’s got to face down the demons. Maybe today, we can put the past away. ♪

♪ I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend… ♫

Velocity UltraBack in May of last year, I reviewed a little PlayStation Mini called Velocity. Like the glass in game, my brain shattered into a million tiny pieces. I was dumbfounded that a game so small could battle it out with the big boys of PSN. My life became consumed with unlocking every secret and in-game trophy. Still, the game wasn’t perfect, so it received a disgraceful 9.6. Scores like that almost killed a man. Thankfully, a 10 from the fine folks at TheSixthAxis gave him the will to live.

Now, with a fresh outlook on life and a complete overhaul, Velocity Ultra is here to put up another fight for the perfect score, and it’s clear that it has been prepping.

To start, if you’re unfamiliar with my original review give it a read first. It explains the basic mechanics of the game. Seeing as how this iteration is a remake, there’s no point in me rehashing everything. Here I’ll just be discussing the changes and whether or not they diminished my extremely minor complaints.

Graphics and Creativity:

Velocity Ultra UpgradeMy biggest gripe with the original release was with the retro inspired visuals. Shackled by the outdated PSP Minis platform, the game didn’t look as good as it could have had it released via other means. That was its biggest disservice. Now, thanks to the Vita’s raw power and beautiful display, the game looks crisp and gorgeous. In turn, that has boosted the overall artistry of the game. Every single detail looks much better. The Quarp Jet and various enemy ships are more distinct. Lighting effects, explosions, and cannon fire are much improved. Environments, now with lovely, nebula-like swirls in the backgrounds, are prettier too. Everything just radiates a much appreciated, lovely, cartoonish art style. The artwork, that serves as the narrative, has even been completely redone, resulting in pieces that are not only more detailed, but far more vibrant. I couldn’t be more pleased with these changes.

Velocity Ultra EffectsAudio: 

Looking back, I’m not sure why I docked the audio some points. The soundtrack is infectiously brilliant. Let’s just chalk this one up to me being slightly younger and slightly more stupid. I’m sorry. I’m not the Pope; I’m not infallible.

The Rest: Still Awesome

Everything else, which was already perfect, remains perfect. Hell, some of it may even exceed perfection.

Velocity Ultra Art 2Touch to teleport, which uses the front touch, feels organic. While the muscle memory in me wanted to use the square button in many instances, I often found myself switching to touch teleport. It really simplifies the mechanic and is a blast to use when casually making your way through the levels. Its precision can really cut down on time and mistakes too. Had I evolved to have a third hand, or nose dexterity, I’d have used it all the time, but it can be a bit difficult to manage a touch screen and buttons when trying to achieve perfect ratings on some of the levels.

Velocity Ultra 2Flinging bombs with the right stick – which was included due to fan feedback much to the dismay of the developer – is also useful in some cases. While it also suffers from the I-don’t-have-enough-hands-and-my-nose-is-worthless complaint, I found it far more useful in taking out large clusters of enemies as it allowed me to stay at a distance instead of slowly inching myself toward death as I held the up directional. The same held true in bonus missions, where slight directional movements could be the difference between survival or touching an insta-death wall.

Velocity Ultra Art 1But the Ultra-fication doesn’t stop there. There are also some other great new features aside from gameplay.

For trophy lovers, the game transforms its already challenging in-game trophies into legitimate PSN trophies. This even includes a platinum, cleverly titled “Show Thumb Respect.” It’s no easy feat. To acquire it you’ll need to master the game, all the bonus missions and mini games, and unlock a few other secrets. Plus, if that’s not already enough, online leaderboards provide additional competition.

2013-07-08-182753What more is there to say. Velocity Ultra takes an already astounding game and makes it even better. It addresses and fixes all my original nitpicking, and improves on some already proficient mechanics. Whether you played the original or not, it’s essential for any Vita owner. It’s an interstellar, celestial entity that transmits artistic, addictive, arcade splendor from the deepest corners of space. And if a prog-rock-inspired sentence like that can talk you into it, just know that it is so good that it sold a Vita to a guy who hasn’t owned a portable console since his childhood with the GameBoy. Short and sweet: It earns that perfect 10.

Playstation Vita

Graphics

100
 

Audio

100
 

Gameplay

100

Creativity

100
 

Execution

100
 

Offset

100
    

10

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Graphics and art style are greatly improved.
  • Touch teleporting just feels right.
  • Everything else is still as exciting and addictive as before.

Cons:

  • The petite D-pad and analog sticks are still foreign to me, and cause many deaths.
  • I’m not sure the Community easter egg made the cut this time.
  • I wish it were a sequel.
Mar 192013
 

There is nothing more exciting than coming home from the store with your brand new video game console. That anticipation as you set it up, just waiting to see what kinds of experiences this new system can provide. For many systems, the first thing you see when finally boot it up is the start-up animation. Not all consoles have had them, but the ones that do become firmly engrained in our minds. This week’s list will be the ten console start-up sequences that I like the most. I don’t have any specific criteria for the list, some will be placed because of personal nostalgia while others will make the list simply because I think they look or sound cool. Because this list is more about the sound and visuals, I am not going to do write ups for each entry, just enjoy the videos.

10. Xbox 360

9. Gameboy Advance

8. Sega Dreamcast

7. Gameboy

6. Sega Saturn


Feb 262013
 

This past week, as everyone that follows games was expecting, Sony announced their next generation console; the Playstation 4. I am personally very excited about the PS4, and I can’t wait for the next generation to finally begin and to put the longest console generation in the industry’s history to bed at long last. I’ve seen many differing opinions on Sony’s press conference, some people think it was downright terrible and others think it is the best console announcement ever. I don’t fall into either of these camps, but I do feel like it was a largely successful press event and about as good as could have been expected from Sony. That’s not to say there weren’t aspects of it I had problems with though, so for these week’s edition of Top 10 Tuesdays I am going to count down what I consider the 5 worst and 5 best aspects of Sony’s PS4 announcement event. Let’s start off with the Worst aspects of the conference.

WORST

5. Blizzard

diablo-3

I’ve personally never really been a huge fan of any Blizzard games, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect them as one of the best and most successful developers making PC games. So, to have Blizzard walk out on stage at a console announcement event should have been a huge moment, but the excitement quickly dissipated when everyone realized they just announcing a port of a year old game. I have no problem with Blizzard porting Diablo III to consoles, but this was not the place the announce it. This to me felt just as insulting to the viewers as last E3′s Nintendo conference when they spent ages talking about Arkham City, another game most people had already played.

4. Lingering Questions

13.02.20-PS4_Holiday

This past week, as everyone that follows games was expecting, Sony announced their next generation console; the Playstation 4. I am personally very excited about the PS4, and I can’t wait for the next generation to finally begin and to put the longest console generation in the industry’s history to bed at long last. I’ve seen many differing opinions on Sony’s press conference, some people think it was downright terrible and others think it is the best console announcement ever. I don’t fall into either of these camps, but I do feel like it was a largely successful press event and about as good as could have been expected from Sony. That’s not to say there weren’t aspects of it I had problems with though, so for these week’s edition of Top 10 Tuesdays I am going to count down what I consider the 5 worst and 5 best aspects of Sony’s PS4 announcement event. Let’s start off with the Worst aspects of the conference.

3. Creepy Presenters

2440786-intensity

On the whole, I felt like most presenters did a great job. Mark Cerny and Andrew House, the two main presenters, were both so good I almost didn’t care that there was no Jack Tretton, almost. However, there were two presenters in particular that came off as kind of creepy, and honestly made me a little uncomfortable. The presenter from Evolution Studios introducing Drive Club was fine at first, I liked his enthusiasm about the game his studio had been making, but it quickly began getting awkward when it became clear just how much he really loved cars. Maybe it’s because cars have never been more than a tool for getting around tor me that I just don’t get fetishistic car love, but nevertheless it came off as a little over the top. However, that paled in comparison to the guy from Sucker Punch who came out and was immediately talking about the time he was teargassed and putting forth a not-so-subtle anti-police message. The fact that he was clearly talking about his real world views and not the game came off as really out of place. I am watching to see the games, not be preached to about government spying and police brutality. Infamous: Second Son looks cool though…

2. Noncommittal Features

sony-playstation-4-ps4-gaikai-cloud-social-streaming-005

Sony had a lot really cool idea to show about things they could implement using their new Gaikai technology, which was great. Unfortunately, a lot of the ideas they shared had of a lot troubling vocabulary attached to them like “we’d like”, “we may”, “someday”, “our goal”, and “possibly”. For as cool as a lot of these features sound, like streaming the entire catalog of previous generation systems, having a friend remotely take control of your game, or having the system predict what games you want to buy, I have to take them with a grain of salt considering they aren’t actually confirmed to be part of the system when it launches.

1. Square Enix

original

I honestly don’t know why Sony even bothered having Square Enix on stage. They showed a lengthy tech demo, which would have been fine, if not for the fact that WE SAW THAT EXACT DEMO A YEAR AGO. I don’t know why they would devote time for Square Enix to show something we’ve already seen, it felt like a total waste of time. Aside from that, they just basically said “we are making a new Final Fantasy game”, which isn’t really news considering how damn obvious it is. They concluded their presentation by saying, “see you at E3!”, which is what they should have waited for to say anything rather than wasting time saying absolutely nothing.

Head to page 2 to check out the best aspects of the conference.

Feb 202013
 

So begins the next generation of consoles. Today Sony unveiled their upcoming console, the Playstation 4, answering one of the biggest questions coming into the press conference called by the company near a month ago, which was what would the name be. What exactly would happen during the press conference has obviously been the other big question, would it be a standard E3 esque conference or would it simply be a get together announcing the new console and possibly unveiling a title or two? Well, the smoke has cleared and here is all you need to now regarding Sony’s PS4 and the announcements made today:

  • Press conference starts out with Sony touting the hardware specs, on par with all current high end PC’s
  • Controller design is unveiled, small screen on controller, improved rumble, head phone jack, and a bar that tracks the movements of the controller.
  • Original IP, Knack, announced, third person action game.
  • A simple button press will put the PS4 into a low power mode, making saving and loading seem irrelevant.
  • Downloading games now to be done in the background, ability to play the game as it downloads.
  • Also shown off was a “predicted” feature, where the console can predict and download the next title you may want. It seems a bit farfetched and needs more explanation but if it works the way they say, it could be something special.
  • Sony wants to make all PS4 titles playable on Vita. Knack is shown on Vita, looks worse than PS4 version but not by much.
  • No backwards compatibility, Sony says that they hope “one day” all Playstation 1, 2, and 3 titles will be playable on PS4.
  • Games begin rolling out, first up is a new Killzone. Despite the sadness of yet another Killzone, it manages to impress visually, showing a lot of color. That being said, it seems as if just another, granted prettier, Killzone.
  • DriveClub feature announced, seems like one big social item for racing games. Was too distracted by the car porn talk.
  • Infamous: Second Son announced.
  • Jonathan Blow appears and shows the first trailer for his upcoming title, The Witness. The game looks great and will be coming first to the PS4.
  • Some faces are shown off by David Cage, sadly no Beyond gameplay nor trailer.
  • Capcom unveils Panta Rhei engine, uses Deep Down (Working Title) to show off the engine. The “game” looks fantastic but I’m far from convinced that was actual gameplay.
  • Finally, what I personally have been waiting for, Watch Dogs appears and steals the show. Looks absolutely incredible and only reinforces its position as my most anticipated next gen game.
  • Blizzard appears!… And announces Diablo III for PS4/PS3. Definitely underwhelming, Blizzard’s appearance should have been more than showing a logo for an already released PC game.
  • To end the show, Bungie comes out and shows off some of their upcoming project, Destiny, which they are very happy to be releasing on both the PS4/PS3. Biggest item of note was the exclusive content announced for Sony, assuming exclusive DLC?

Those were it folks, my notes taken during the conference compressed into some hopefully readable news tidbits. Sadly, no price point nor an actual box being shown off. I’m assuming we’ll have to wait until E3 to get those two pieces of information. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more on the PS4 in the weeks to come and we will obviously be keeping you up to date with every news item we catch wind of.

Feb 112013
 

1 Sly CoverHanding your beloved franchise off to another developer has often produced unimpressive results. It has happened time and time again, and will continue to. So when it was announced that the Sly Cooper franchise – one of my favorites from the PS2 era -  would be handed off to the relatively unknown Sanzaru Games, I was a bit worried. Thankfully, countless press events and a few impressive demos quelled any fears, catapulting Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time to the top of my most anticipated list of games of 2013. After eight years of absence, does the Cooper Clan have what it takes to make it in today’s ever-changing market?

2 Sly JapanFor those familiar with the story, the game picks up right where Sly 3 left off. For those who aren’t, shame on you, but the game has an excellent introduction to get you up to speed. The team has taken some time off from their thieving ways, but are forced to reunite when Bentley discovers that the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus are disappearing. 3 Sly El JefeMaking use of the time machine that he constructed at the end of the original trilogy, the team travels through time to rescue Sly’s ancestors, foil the plans of those responsible, and right the flow of time. That’s about all you need to know for the story. It’s not the deepest, but it further develops a couple of the primary characters and serves up a few nice twists. More importantly, it allows fans to meet many of the fabled members of the Cooper Clan. That direction in and of itself is brilliant! It allows for many great opportunities. Casting such a wide net means the ancestors and villains are very diverse. Time periods vary greatly, spanning from feudal Japan, to the wild west, medieval England, ancient Arabia, and even all the way back to 10,000 BC.

Sly games on the PS2 always had a certain charm to them, much in thanks to the cell shaded graphics and superb implementation of sound. The technical capabilities of the PS3 have only accentuated those qualities. Each setting is gorgeous. Vivid colors are thrown around liberally, especially toward the end of the game. The large environments, similar in layout to the latter games, impress at every turn. It’s easy to see that a lot of love and care was put into each episode, in details both large and small. As they should, each time and place feels unique. Anthropomorphic enemies fit within the period specific framework. Background music and sound effects mesh well. Even small details, like the appearance of coins, change throughout time.

Sly CinemaCinemas have also been overhauled. While they sometimes adopt the still frame layout of game’s past, they stray on far more occasions. Most play out like delightful Saturday morning cartoons. Others opt for a hand drawn approach, often relying on humorous simplicity. I cannot recall a recent game with cinemas that impressed this much. I could simply watch them all day.

Gameplay for the main trio remains familiar, with a slew of advancements to upgrades. For instance, (The) Murray’s hands can be charged with fire or electricity, or later have the ability to confuse enemies. Carmelita, who is playable for the first time, can switch between rapid fire, charging, or a triple shot. But the real progression comes from the varied styles of each ancestor. Each historic member of the Cooper Clan brings a unique skill or two. Even their basic attacks stray from Sly’s repertoire, providing interesting new charge moves and stealth takedowns. 5 SlyOne ancestor in particular abandons the melee formula almost completely. Another has an interesting alternative to the paraglider. Costumes unlocked in each episode also allow Sly to gain some interesting abilities, mainly to aid in platforming and the unlocking of doors containing treasures.

Every bit of the game feels like classic Sly. Sadly, with the passing of time, some of the challenges and minigames – especially the sixaxis controlled ones – walk a fine line between homage and antiquity. I’m sure Sanzaru didn’t want to overtweak the formula and ruin everything, but they may have played it a bit too safe. There are moments of brilliance, like a hilarious montage with my new favorite member of the Cooper Clan, who was unmentioned in the lore until now. The majority of Bentley’s hacking minigames – which were always one of my favorite parts – are also enjoyable. The Tron-like tank parts are much improved, while the alter ego, side scrolling SHMUPs are contrastingly chaotic. Shooting galleries, which came up in a few instances, were also fun. But for every couple of these that impressed, there was another that felt stale, mainly due to the game’s overall lack of difficulty.

Sly Bentley hackIt’s also worth mentioning that a standalone title called Bentley’s Hackpack was released simultaneously. For a measly $3, it adds over 45 levels of Bentley’s hacking minigames, and 200 challenges. I haven’t got around to playing through them, but they look to be a bit more elaborate and difficult that the ones in game.

From a technical perspective, the game has a few minor issues. Later in the game, I found slight issues with the frame rate, mainly when collecting a lot of coins or evading alerted enemies. Loading times were also a bit long, but a few extra seconds is a drop in the bucket compared to eight years of waiting. While these were minor annoyances, they really didn’t impact my overall enjoyment.

Sly AncestorsDespite these few lackluster qualities, the game is pure fan service. I don’t want those minor complaints to deter you. It’s easy to see that the guys at Sanzaru love the franchise. It feels just as I would have expected a Sucker Punch sequel to feel. Clever title screens introduce each episode, making me wish all games implemented that idea. There are plenty of collectibles from all the previous entries, like the earlier used bottles and unlockable safes, as well as treasures and Sly icons (I call them slycons). References to past games, other franchises, and a few other pop culture pieces are sure to produce a smile. But most importantly, the rich lore of the Cooper Clan has been done justice. Finally developing those fabled ancestors was a brilliant choice. The Thievius Raccoonus has such a rich history of unique ancestors. Even more bold was Sanzaru’s decision to disregard that history and introduce a completely new ancestor. The entire third episode was sheer joy because of it. Quality characters, and the villains who abducted them, kept me wanting to see more. Hopefully we’ve started a new trilogy, because we’ve only just scratched the surface.

4 Sly EnglandIf there is one thing that is largely disappointing, it’s that Sony only had the confidence to price the game at $39.99. I would have been just as satisfied paying $59.99. I know that’s a dumb thing to complain about, but I’m still a huge fan of whimsical 3D platformers. It pains me to see them struggle, or be thrown to the wayside by today’s gamer. Eight years ago, they were plentiful. Now, they are few and far between. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the focus changed, but I miss them dearly. Throwing me a bone or two a year just isn’t cutting it.

6 Sly ArabiaThieves in Time clearly demonstrates that these games still have their place, even if it is a bit of a niche. Fans of the series will fall right back in love. And hopefully some new fans can hop aboard my ‘I-still-love-cartoony-platformers’ train to generate a little more noise. Thieves in Time may not be the hugest step forward for gaming, but it transports you back in time to a different period in gaming, where games were full of color, humor, and creativity. I love dismembering a Necromorph just as much as the next guy, but there’s nothing that beats the unbridled joy I experience from such whimsy.

Playstation 3

Graphics

100
 

Audio

100
 

Gameplay

85

Creativity

100
 

Execution

85
 

Offset

90
    

9.3

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros:

  • Charm and humor are unchanged.
  • The power of the PS3 allows for some breathtaking environments.
  • Music and sound effects are still phenomenal.
  • Ancestors are interesting and add progression to the gameplay.

Cons:

  • A few of the challenges and minigames feel outdated.
  • Most of the game is a bit easy.
  • Carmelita’s voice seems a bit off. ;)
  • That ugly cross buy icon ruins a lovely piece of cover art.
Jan 142013
 

It’s becoming that time yet again, folks. It’s time for the next gen hardware rumors to start swirling about like a Disney Channel character’s hair. This time around the rumor is being surfaced by a group that seems to know their business, Baird Equity Research. Colin Sebastian, a Baird representative, took his time to gather up all the rumors that have been floating around for the past year and has concluded (somehow) that both Sony and Microsoft will reveal their consoles just prior to E3 in June. Here are some direct quotes from Sebastian:

“Our checks suggest that next-generation console hardware will be largely built from ‘off the shelf’ high-end PC components, along with hybrid physical/digital distribution models, enhanced voice controls and motion sensing (Kinect integration with every Xbox), and broad multi-media capabilities,” he stated.

He also said: “Moreover, a PC-based architecture (Intel chips in the case of Xbox) should have a number of advantages over custom-developed silicon: for one, the learning curve for software developers will be shorter than completely new technology. Second, the cost of production and retail price points should be lower than prior console launches.”

Also predicted was that Sony would release their console in October while Mirosoft would release the new Xbox in November. Perhaps one of the best tidbits was that both consoles are expected to be $350-$400, a price point that is significantly lower than the PS3’s original $600 price tag.

As of right now this is all one groups prediction, with no real facts to back it up, but it does seem likely in the grand scheme of things. We shall see if Mr. Sebastian is correct in just a few more months as E3 begins to slowly creep upon us.

Source

Nov 272012
 

It’s Tuesday, and this week I am going to be taking another look into the past with the second installment of “This Year in Gaming”. In each This Year in Gaming installment I pick a year at random and then run down what I consider to be the ten best games released in that year. The subject of this list is 1996. Overall, 1996 wasn’t quite as good as some years, and certainly not as good as 2001, the last entry of “This Year in Gaming”. 1996 saw the release of the Nintendo 64, the Playstation and Saturn entered their second year on the market, with the Playstation gaining popularity and the Saturn continuing to sputter. As games moved into 3 dimensions, many developers struggled translating 2D design concepts to 3D, making 1996 a year with some industry wide growing pains. Despite the challenges of the new consoles and paradigm shift in the fundamentals of gaming, 1996 still had some great games, and these are the best of them.

Honorable Mentions:

Crash Bandicoot (PS1), Metal Slug (Arcade, Neo Geo), Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (PS1), Duke Nukem 3D (PC), Twisted Metal 2 (PS1)

10. Mario Kart 64 (N64)

The original Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo was a fun arcade racing game that sported some impressive graphics for the console, but Mario Kart 64 really took the series to new heights. The biggest addition to Mario Kart 64 is the increase from 2 players to 4. The power of the N64 also allowed for much more elaborate and unique track designs. Mario Kart 64 took the blueprint of the original and simply improved upon it in almost every way.

9. Tomb Raider (Saturn, PS1)

At the time of its release, Tomb Raider was a very impressive game that really showed what the new CD based game consoles could do. The game mixed both platforming and gunplay to great affect, and was also one of the first games to go for a more realistic approach to platforming. Instead of jumping on floating platforms and such, the player had to traverse more natural environments by jumping and climbing. The game may not hold up very well by today’s standards, but it gave birth to Lara Croft, one of the most iconic video game characters of all time and also served as the inspiration for many games to come after it, notably the Uncharted series.

8. Command and Conquer: Red Alert (PC)

A spin off of the popular Command and Conquer series, Red Alert has it’s own style, which many fans actually prefer to the main series. Red Alert takes place in an alternate World War II where Hitler was killed before declaring war, so instead Russia invades Europe. Red Alert features the same style of live action cutscenes as the original Command and Conquer, but has a more humorous overall tone. The game features the same type of deep strategy and base building elements as the original C&C, but with entirely new factions.

7. Suikoden (PS1)

With the new generation of consoles, RPG fans were eagerly awaiting the next big game. Coming off the amazing Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI on the Super Nintendo, fans could not wait for the next great Squaresoft RPG. However, Final Fantasy VII wouldn’t hit the Playstation until early 1997, so the big Playstation RPG of 1996 was Konami’s Suikoden. The game is revered by fans for its interesting story, large cast of characters, and interesting use of both traditional turn based combat as well as large scale battles.

6. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (PC)

The Elder Scrolls series is one of the biggest RPG franchises in gaming today, but it didn’t garner any real mainstream recognition until The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in 2006, and to a lesser extent, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in 2002. However, PC fans had loved the series years before it started getting real popular, and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall was an excellent game in 1996. Much of what people associate with the series today was present even back in 1996, and that is really what differentiated the series from other Computer RPGs of the time. Daggerfall had a ridiculously huge open world, unheard of levels of freedom, and action oriented first person combat.

Sep 052012
 

A few anticipated Xbox Live Arcade Games now have themselves their own respective release date. First up, Red Johnson’s Chronicles should be hitting virtual shelves next Wednesday. Lexis Numérique, developer of the very famous Imagine Fashion Designer New York, has been working on their point and click adventure game for a few years now and I have no doubt they’re happy to finally get it out the door.

All joking aside, when your previous titles are games like the Imagine series,  I’m sure devlopers grow eager to develop their own promising original IP and that obviously leads to tremendous amounts of heart being inserted into a game. The only problem is the point and click adventure audience is a small one, which could hurt sells and word of mouth. It’s a bit surprising that Red Johnson’s Chronicles isn’t a PC game but I wouldn’t rule it out, especially if sales tank. Even if the developers history isn’t spotless, Red Johnson’s Chronicles seems to be a decent game to take a shot on if you’re wanting to pass time until Borderlands comes out.

On the other hand, Joe Danger 2: The Movie will be releasing September 14th on XBLA and PSN. The first Joe Danger took a lot of inspiration from Trials and developed upon their concept of sidescrolling, dangerous motorbiking and added a comedic flair to it through main character Joe Danger. The look was different but overall Joe Danger managed to do two things that Trials also achieved: Being infuriating while simultaneously being a blast to fly through.

A few other XBLA titles releasing in the next few weeks include:

Kung Fu Strike (Out Now)
Walking Dead Episode 3 (Out Now)
Mark of the Ninja (Sept. 7th)
Double Dragon Neon (Sept. 12th)

XBLA, fever! Catch it!

Aug 282012
 

Not long ago, Cole MacGrath from the inFAMOUS franchise was added to the roster of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Now – conveniently on the day of release for the inFAMOUS Collection – he’s been added again in his evil karmic state. While some of his attacks bear a resemblance to his good counterpart, many of his others appear far more devastating thanks to Nix’s fire powers. Bolts, grenades, and rockets form beautiful incendiary explosions. One of his most impressive moves is the Ionic Drain super, which can suck the life from multiple adversaries. His top tier super channels the Beast, allowing Cole to hover around and hurl combustible chaos in all directions.

I’m happy to see Cole’s evil side. I was originally unsure of the choice to make him two separate characters, but they appear to stand on their own, offering two distinct play styles. They’re as different as fire and ice, literally. Plus ,combining both forms into one wouldn’t make much sense in the spirit of the game’s karma system. Hopefully his evil encore isn’t at the expense of another beloved character.

New reveals are just around the corner, as PAX gets underway in the coming days. Stay tuned for more details. Who knows? Maybe the next reveal will be Neutral Cole.

Also, if you haven’t played though the inFAMOUS franchise, now is the perfect time! For $39.99 you can pick up the new inFAMOUS Collection, which includes not only the first two games, but the Festival of Blood downloadable title.

Update: Gameplay for Raiden, one of the two PAX reveals, has hit the net. Like Dante, he’s proficient with swords and able to string serious combos. His level two super mirrors the free slicing mode from the upcoming Revengence. For his level three super, his opponents are placed in the franchise’s trademark stealth boxes, limiting their movement but hiding them since more boxes show up than players.

Aug 222012
 
Source: EgoAnt
(We all love feeling nostalgia and remembering the times when we were gamers in childhood.
What games did we absolutely love then that give us nostalgia now?)

 

To understand the state of gaming now we need to delve into our past to help answer the question of how we got here. Looking at our past should give us information that helps us understand the state of gaming today and may help us predict the future of gaming.

Anyone born in the late 80′s or early 90′s, as I was, is part of a special group of gamers that got to see the transition of gaming from a small niche market to a popular large movement.

I, like others in my age group, are part of the “mid gaming generation”. That’s a new term I’m coining for people that weren’t really a part of the earliest past of gaming and are also not children now playing games in the modern era.

We didn’t play pong, or the Atari, or any of the early generation consoles. We weren’t the earliest gamers and nostalgia for us is much harder to attain because most of the games we played are still fairly recent.

Today I’m going to give you some of my most nostalgic games and I think we’ll realize that the foundation of gaming for my generation seems to have been on the PlayStation and the P.C.

Although my earliest console was a Nintendo, it seems that the upgraded game quality given by the PlayStation set those games apart in my mind from the older 8 bit generation.

I’ll be listing the games in order of most fun/most memorable; number 1 being the best of the group. : )

Since every gamer’s taste is different, and gamers themselves are a diverse group, most likely my list won’t fit perfectly with yours. That’s only because the world is filled with different people of different opinions and different tastes. : )

(In bold I’ve marked some of the lessons we learn from this list, as to what makes a good game and general knowledge about gaming today.)

 

Number 12
(Yes, there were 2 extra games I couldn’t cut out of the list so we have a list of 12 :D )
Street Fighter 2

 

 

I remember the long hours I’d play this getting stuck on Vega and then finding out that after I beat him I still had a NUMBER of other enemies before getting to the boss. Finally when you get to M. Bison, especially as a kid, you’re just in awe at how to beat him. Especially when he jumps on your head from across the screen or submarine torpedoes you with his whole body.

Today I don’t know if I could play a fighting game as long as I played Street fighter, but that may show how rare a gem this game was when it was released back in the 90′s. My favorite characters ended up being Guile and Bison. Street fighter is the spiritual source of the vast majority of fighting games today.

 

Number 11
Nba Street 1&2

 

To be honest, you don’t really need to love basketball to enjoy this game. This game has a winning formula of taking a real world activity and sensationalizing it with gaming. It’s a winning formula that works even in today’s gaming world. People don’t always want the most real simulation of an activity, especially if they can just get a basketball and play the game with friends outside.

But a game where you can do amazing impossible dunks, globetrotter like fakes, and amazing rim breaking specials, is a game worth playing and a game that’s definitely fun.

Nba street may not have been the most famous game of the past but it’s a gem worth looking at nonetheless.

Number 10
Need for Speed Underground

 

With movies like The Fast and Furious, NFS underground capitalized on that tuner formula and made the greatest racing game I’ve ever played.

It came with a short, but very interesting story and it let you customize more parts of a car than a kid thought possible. My favorite mode, hands down, was drag racing. It required both timing and skill to know EXACTLY when to shift and missing a shift early on would nearly always result in a loss.

The speed, the exhilaration, and the atmosphere as you drag raced or participated in the story of the game made everything feel real and sadly I haven’t felt that same level of excitement for a racing game in a long time.

Forza may be a realistic game but it lacks all the tuning and fun parts of a racing game and without the fun and over the top sensationalism, it’s just a cookie cutter simulation. Forza and other racing games like it might be geared more to professional racers and mechanics while NFS Underground was for the adrenaline rush junkies and those who liked creative customization.

Number 9
Pharoah

 

This was a game most people probably didn’t get a chance to play. Back when games were affordable and there were no review sites, I simply read the outer boxes of games and when I found a game that seemed enjoyable, I bought it.

Pharoah was one of these buys and I fell in love with it. I am very much an RTS or real time strategy fan, and Pharoah gave you missions to create a city to your hearts content and make sure the people living in it were happy by giving them the services they needed.

If you put the hunters(that went out and got you meat) and grain house too far, people couldn’t eat in a timely way and as a result their homes would not evolve. When you clicked on the home it told you EXACTLY what the home needed to upgrade to the next level. Sometimes it was as simple as not having water nearby.

There were so many different levels of homes to upgrade to that I’ve personally never even reached the highest level, which was known as “estates”. If i remember correctly the best homes I got my citizens to evolve to were apartments. That was no small feat as it required nearby water, food, bazaars(markets), entertainment, religious homes, doctors, dentists, architects, fireman, and more!!
Imagine trying to cram all that in one small area all competing for resources!

This game is so creative in how it lets you build to your hearts content that it’s a must own for any RTS lover. Sadly it never got as popular as it deserved. But luckily the same engine and game progressed on and the latest installments of this game are Zeus: Master of Olympus and Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom. You may have encountered at least one of the games in the series, even if it wasn’t Pharaoh. They’re all made by the same studio so gameplay is very similar.

Number 8
Majesty

 

Majesty on the other hand became a cult hit. For many years I remember small internet circles buzzing about this game til finally a new studio bought the license to this game and recently produced Majesty 2.

Another PC RTS game like Phaorah, Majesty did one thing that no other game has had the courage to do; stop you from moving troops. You could create as many troops as you can afford in majesty but there was no way to actually move them. They moved themselves, protected you when they wanted to, or ran away and let your kingdom down.

Majesty only let you entice your heroes with monetary benefits IF and only If they killed an enemy or went to a certain area.

The characters were RPG favorites, such as Wizards, Rogues, and Paladins. The feel of the game and this unique element of watching your heroes do what they wanted, was amazing Each hero also acted differently. Rogues were more likely to run away than Paladins would and Wizards were more often studying then fighting on your behalf. Although when they fight, my God, they fight so well :D

Wizards could turn the game around for you, if they decided to pitch in, and although their strength was high, they had very low life, just as the RPG myth indicates and a few hits from a foe could easily kill a wizard.

Majesty is a gem that should be shared with all people. Definitely pick it up, or Majesty 2, if you didn’t get a chance to enjoy this game.

Number 7
Dark Cloud

 

This game was all about adventuring into dark caves for a simple altruistic reason, to rebuild your city that was destroyed. Rebuilding the city is exactly what made this game very unique, as you could place buildings however you wanted but each building asked you to be put in a particular way. Either facing the sun, or near water, or next to a neighbor.

This gave you some flexibility and made your city different from others, but generally in order to get a perfect city, you had to fit a particular pattern.

The sheer customization of weapons and different areas also made this game a must play RPG adventure unparallelled with many other story games I played. It became an amazing game when you added the catchy story and unique game-play elements, making this an overall great package, especially for the time frame it was released in back in 2000.

Number 6
Age of Empires 2

 

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War was never so fun as it was in Age of Empires. To be honest though it wasn’t the fighting that made this game great, but the dramatic buildup to it. That’s what made this game exciting. Getting resources, evolving your civilization, and preparing for that war was definitely more fun than the battle itself.

Adding in a great story helped as each mission seemed to have meaning. You were building up to something bigger and you had a larger goal. This wasn’t an aimless war and you needed to win and build a team formidable enough to take down your opponent.

Luckily with Age of Empires 3, the game was polished to perfection, especially since we no longer needed to mine both stone and gold, which got very tiring after a while.

This game was leaps and bounds ahead of it’s time when it was released on the PC. The first time I evolved my civilization, the mere addiction of doing that, getting new upgrades, troops, and units, had me hooked forever on the Age of Empires series.

It’s shocking that we’re only at number six and Age of Empires didn’t even make the top five. Just goes to show how great the top 5 games are on the list.

Number 5
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2

 

There is both happiness and sadness at the fact that I’m discussing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Tony hawk 2 was by far the perfection of the series. It was that sensationalized skateboarding that made this game so fun and launched the franchise.

It was amazingly fun to do tricks no person could do in real life, not even Tony Hawk.
The levels were well designed and the missions kept you working hard to find every last tape or secret area you could. I became really good at the game and eventually could beat anyone else I ever played on it.

The downside though, as I alluded to earlier in the review, is that since Tony Hawk 2 this game has gone downhill. It has become more and more realistic and less and less fun.

It lost it’s spiritual source and lost the reason for why we played it in the first place. I hope a new Tony Hawk game remembers their roots and goes back to it. It’s a good lesson we can take in this article. Other games like Mortal Kombat realized they were heading on the wrong track and similarly went back to their original successes for guidance. It’s known as heading back to basics; to what worked and to what sold us on the game in the beginning.

Let’s remember what worked well in games and not destroy our franchises by removing those fun elements; another important gem we get from looking back at the past.

Number 4
Grand Theft Auto Vice City/San Andreas

 

Sandbox games like Fallout and Red Dead redemption get a lot of their inspiration from these two amazingly fun games. The missions are by far what make these games stand out. They were always fun, a bit tricky, and really tied you into the story and made you feel a part of the game.

These immersive and open world games were light years ahead of their time with amazing graphics and could be played enjoyably even today. That’s saying a lot for a game made nearly 10 years ago.

Number 3
The Sims 1&2

 

Sims 1

 

Sims2

I discovered and bought this game simply because of a commercial and an idea. I tried to find the commercial on youtube but sadly wasn’t able to : ( . The basic idea was it showed real people having fun and just hanging out at a home then all of a sudden BOOM the home and the people transformed into Sims and now you were in control of everything from the home to the people to the career.

The idea that a PC game could give you THAT much control and look that realistic was mind boggling. The game, when I finally got it, was even more fun than just the idea of it, as the gameplay got you to slowly make your Sims richer and upgrade their items to make them more efficient.

Even going to the bathroom could be efficient! I better upgrade my toilet and shower so i can clean myself faster and get to work quicker! I need a better bed so I can sleep less and work more!

The Sims was definitely a contender for number one on this list and I bought EVERY single expansion available on the Sims one; not a small feat or a cheap enterprise….

The Sims launched a franchise and an idea that gaming and gamers could be amazingly creative and that we thrived on the ability to create and have fun with our creations. This is a very similar idea to Minecraft in many respects.

Number 2
Kingdom Hearts

 

http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/3132/150356kingdomheartsii28.jpg

This game hit home for me. I was suggested it and bought it used a long time after it was released. I was told it was the best story I’d ever experience through gaming. Guess what…. They were right! :D

Kingdom Hearts is amazing open world fighting(the game doesn’t pause for fight sequences), an amazing and compelling story that DRIVES you forward and forces you to keep playing, and includes a special monster like summoning capability that increases the drama and tensions mid battle.

Epic is a word I haven’t used yet and that’s because I rarely use it liberally. This game is Epic. Its battles are Epic, its favorite childhood disney characters are epic, and my God, I have to say it again, Its STORY is EPIC.

The whole reason I eventually bought a PS3 was just to be able to play KH3 when it comes out!!

If you haven’t played the first game of this blockbuster franchise, you’ve missed out on a very important segment of gaming.

Number 1
Final Fantasy 8

 

You knew this list was probably going to end with a Final Fantasy game as they’ve become some of the most epic games in recent gaming history.

Choosing FF8 over the others will be very controversial as it does go against the majority of people. Then again the majority opinion is statistically not always correct. Remember that people once thought the world was flat.

Regardless I want to give my opinion as to why I choose 8 over the others. I own 7 and 9, and I tried to play both. 7 is graphically nowhere near FF8, as 7 looks more cartoonish and polygonal. I also tried to get into the story of 7 but early on I gave up on it. It may be my fault more than the game itself.

9 is graphically fine but I also never really got into the story and it began to bore me pretty quickly. I also did get stuck trying to get the carnival ticket, and that’s what lead me to eventually stop playing the game.

10 and the other games are too recent to be considered nostalgic, so they can’t be on this list even if they are better than 8/7/9.

The GF system, which was a favorite choice of mine, was also scrapped in 9, making 9 loose serious points.

Overall though this isn’t about which Final Fantasy game you choose to be number one but the fact that most people’s most nostalgic games seem to be topped by Final Fantasy, regardless of which installment they preferred.

Final Fantasy 8 is very compelling, heart breaking in a lot of ways, and uplifting in others. The same can be probably be said about the other Final Fantasy games that have a very nice and fast paced gameplay.

If you don’t attack quickly or decide what to do, the enemy will attack you. They will not stop and wait for you to decide what to do.

The story is what gets you though. It’s always what gets you. There are always amazing characters at the heart of some problem that threatens the existence of the world. Through lots of grinding and training, you really feel as if you’re honing your skills and getting closer and closer to that last boss battle that will test you in every way it can.

Final Fantasy doesn’t pull any punches. It makes you work for that final win. Many people have worked to play the whole game, giving up on the last boss. Final Fantasy won’t hold your hand. If you want that ending, and you want that satisfaction of beating the game, you have to work hard to do it. There is no easy ending or easy win.

It’s a game I’m currently streaming now over at: http://www.justin.tv/immortalphoenix and uploading to my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheeImmortalPhoenix. Playing it has given me a taste of nostalgic gaming; a feeling i haven’t felt in a long time.

Final Fantasy can have a whole article written just about it, but suffice it to say, it’s an incredible journey with an amazing story, a fast paced nail biter, that increases in drama and tension as you continue to play it. You can’t call yourself gamer, or even a casual gamer, if you haven’t played at least one Final Fantasy game.

If you’re a “Mid” gamer generation like me, some of these game will be sure to give you that nostalgic feeling that’ll make you remember the good ole days of the past.

Enjoy the list, feel free to disagree with it (as we all have different tastes), and comment below your own favorite games of the 1998-2003 era; which was the Mid Gamer generation’s childhood years.

Keep feeling that nostalgia everyone. : )

 

Jul 162012
 

At Comic-Con, two new characters were announced for Sony’s upcoming brawler. This time they are less of a surprise. Both options come from critically acclaimed franchises from some of Sony’s best first party studios. Still, they are great to officially see.

Cole MacGrath, the superhero from Sucker Punch’s inFAMOUS, was a shoo-in for the Comic-Con announcement. His basic electrical attacks are all there. Electrokinetic bolts, grenades, and missiles create a lovely light show. Electromagnetic powers, like a modified Induction Grind, shield-like Polarity Wall, and Lightning Tether are also present. I think I saw a bit of telekinesis too. Even with all these superpowers, Cole isn’t afraid to get in there and swing his Amp around. His top super unleashes an Ionic Vortex, which even wreaks havoc on some of the level. Cryokinetic abilities, borrowed from Kuo, are shown once. Cole appears in his positive karma attire, and is only seen using blue electricity. Whether he has access, or the option, to switch to his more devastating red attacks, or Nix’s fire powers, is still unknown. While ‘Good Cole’ has plenty of awesomeness to keep me satiated, the option for ‘Evil Cole’ would really take him to the next level. An appearance from the inventor of the Dunbar Beam would also be welcome.

Jak and Daxter, Naughty Dog’s titular duo from the PS2 era, were also revealed. My biggest question about Jak concerned his appearance (an issue Cole was also familiar with leading up to his sequel). SuperBot has favored the more mature, aggressive look from Jak 3, which is probably the right choice considering the juvenile Jak from the first game had far fewer moves in his repertoire. Plus, early Jak was Pecker-less. Who doesn’t love Pecker?… The Morph Gun appears as Jak’s main method of attack. Many of the gun’s upgrades are present, like the ricocheting Beam Reflexor, the devastating Needle Laser and Arc Welder, the turret-releasing Gyro Burster, and the enemy-freezing Mass Inverter. Jak can also evade with his hover board. Daxter even provides some melee assistance from time to time. Dark and Light Eco powers are also at Jak’s disposal. For his top super, Jak assumes his Light Eco form and flies around the screen shooting projectiles.

That’s two characters off my list. Once again, execution seems near flawless at reproducing two diverse characters. I can’t wait to give them both a spin. Now I eagerly await the announcement of my main, Ratchet & Clank, and cross my fingers that Sony ponies up the dough for the rights to their original icons, Crash and Spyro. Plus, I’ll be praying to the gaming gods for some third party support from Rayman.

Jul 122012
 

On PSN, the MOBA Awesomenauts is getting some big updates”sometime soon” giving players two things that they’ve been asking for, balance and new content. While the balance will be noticible, the new content is what has most excited because it’s coming in the form of two brand new characters. The ew characters will be free along with the patch, whenever it drops and will be in the form of Combat Walker Pilot Derpl Zork and the Lady Space Surfer Coco Nebulon.

Scroll down to see some brand new screenshots for the new characters and to let us now what you think Awesomenauts players.

Jul 062012
 

Today was a good day for fans of the upcoming PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. To start the day off with a bang, the game got a street date for October 23rd… but the details didn’t stop there. The pre-order bonus was also announced, which includes alternate costumes to the already revealed 9±1 characters (depending on when you read this post).

So far, the bonus costumes are as follows:

  • Kratos’ brother Deimos, prominently featured in Ghost of Sparta
  • Sweet Tooth’s rift energy infused Outcast skin from Starhawk multiplayer
  • Sly’s Robin Hood-like costume from Thieves in Time
  • Col. Radec’s heavier armor set (Forgive my ignorance on this one and feel free to set me straight.)
  • Fat Princess’ pirate-themed costume from the Fat Roles expansion pack
  • PaRappa’s space suit from UmJammer Lammy
  • Nathan Drake’s winter attire from Among Thieves
  • Big Daddy’s plush doll version that the Little Sister has in Bioshock 2

An exclusive costume for each of the characters in the game will be available to all those who pre-order. Plus, characters will also have multiple unlockable costumes.

Later in the day, Heihachi Mishima from Tekken and Toro, Sony’s catlike mascot from Japan, were added to the roster. Gamplay for each character was brief. Toro had three stances: a close-range Justice form, a ranged Torobi form, and a wide-area Oni form. He also received some assistance from his black cat buddy, Kuro. Heihachi did use his level 2 super move to summon his pet bear, Kuma, while his level 3 straps opponents to a launching rocket. Each of their bonus costumes were also shown. Heihachi dons his alternate costume from Tekken 3 while Toro goes business causal. Even that wasn’t all of the new information though. A new stage set in Chop Chop Master Onion’s Dojo was briefly shown, which included a Metal Gear mech in the background.

This game continues to ooze with fan service and I’m stoked! I hanging on every word of every announcement. Now I begin the agonizing wait until July 15th, when two more characters are announced at Comic-Con.

May 312012
 

Not much has been said about the future of Epic Games’ successful, Xbox exclusive mega series, Gears of War, and for now, that is just fine. But with the overwhelming financial gain and massive critical acclaim the series has generated over the years cannot be ignored forever. The games still remain a staple of Microsoft exclusive titles that seem to be running few and far between, so it would take a fool to expect, no matter how the last game left off, that Microsoft or Epic Games would let such a money making machine dwindle off into the distance. Will there be a Gears of War 4? Is the future of this franchise nonexistent or is there still some creative gas left in the tank? Let’s go over some of the possibilities the future of the Gears of War series may hold, and tackle some of the features and story that we may come to expect.

First we will begin with when this game might be announced or released. With Epic Games recently unveiling screen shots from its latest engine, Unreal Engine 4, it would be safe to assume that any future iterations of the Gears series would appear on that engine. Epic has no doubt been working tirelessly on this technology, and creating a game with a proven track record utilizing this technology could be a good selling point. It seems as if every game created in the most recent generation of console and PC gaming has used Unreal Engine 3, and Epic would certainly want to continue that trend with its latest creation. Seeing a Gears of War game on an updated and more polished version of a popular engine just may help Epic continue to dominate the market. This of course would most definitely require the next Gears game to be played on the upcoming generation of consoles. With Microsoft and Sony having yet to officially announce their new hardware, the transition from this generation to the next seems increasingly imminent. The game will more than likely release on one of these consoles, completely created using Unreal Engine 4. And with Microsoft seeming to be a bit short handed in the exclusives department over the past couple of years, you can bet that they will try to keep the license exclusive. But don’t count Sony out. Epic has stressed their interest in creating a popular game for multiple platforms in the past, and if Sony has anything to say about it, they will try their best to steal away another Microsoft selling point.

When we last left Marcus and the rest of the Gears, he had just removed his bandanna, took a seat on the sand and breathed a sigh of relief. The ending of Gears of War 3 left everyone feeling as if the series had reached its conclusion, much like the Halo series did with its third installment. Not so fast. You witnessed just how quickly Microsoft resurrected the Halo franchise when exclusives began dropping and you can expect they will do the same with Gears of War. With the game running on Unreal Engine 4, primed for a new generation of consoles, this game could be a great tool to use in putting more next generation Microsoft consoles into homes worldwide. Only a fool would believe that this is the end of Gears of War, as most companies will generally squeeze the life out of any popular franchise in order to make a buck. And that is exactly what Gears of War is, a money making machine. So what story can we expect from the next Gears game?

As mentioned before, the game had a pretty solid closing, leaving everyone feeling finished and satisfied unlike other popular titles (ahem…Mass Effect 3). So what might Marcus and the Gears encounter on their next go around? With the Locust having been all but eradicated, and the Lambent threat no longer existent, the likelihood of the gang facing another, much tougher opponent, seems like the best bet.  The story for Gears of War was nothing amazing, but the characters were intriguing and the main plot has lots of appeal. It was something that we had already seen, yet never seen before. Alien invasions are nothing new to gaming, but for them to come from within the very soil upon which you stand was a fresh take on a tried and true idea. You can expect the story to take a turn towards the bizarre, with fresh new enemies, and perhaps a touch of the old ones.

As for the multiplayer, Gears of War has nearly always hit the nail on the head, using nearly to describe the lackluster experience from the second installment. Gears of War 3, however, was packed full of different modes, maps and unlocks. The game was really complete in terms of DLC, map varieties and a plethora of different modes such as Horde, Beast, Co-op and your basic Deathmatch battles. Expect the next Gears to build on that even more. With the success of the additional modes like Beast and Horde, you can very well anticipate that Epic will cater to fans of these gameplay styles. More waves in Beast mode, for starters, would be a good indication of their intent to build upon a successful product. You can also guarantee that old favorites such as Gridlock and Mansion will make an appearance for those who want a little nostalgia and wouldn’t mind seeing older maps re-imagined on a brand new platform and engine.

So, there it is. The next Gears will more than likely play host to a new console, as well as a new Unreal Engine. The story will likely seem a bit out of left field, with the Epic team having to create a whole new enemy in an already existing universe, but it shouldn’t be an issue. The multiplayer will most certainly be bolstered a bit, with a larger focus on the Horde and Beast modes. Regardless of whether or not you think Gears might be done, the fact still remains that it is one of Microsoft’s very few exclusive hits. combine that fact with Sony having more and more first party exclusives, and you can ensure that Gears has yet to see its final day. Now, tell us what you think. Did we get it all wrong? Is Gears of War finished? Did we insinuate anything that you think to be completely false, or was their anything we missed? Let us know what you expect from the next Gears of War title. What are your hopes for the franchise? What do you want to see from the series. Let us know in the comments below.

 

May 202012
 

The mod and customization market is certainly a growing aspect of the gaming community. Evil Controllers is one of many companies that offers the kits necessary to perform these type of upgrades and with the massive amounts of options you can apply to your controller, they absolutely have something for everyone. While some of the controllers from Evil Controllers use mods, such as rapid fire or burst, there are also kits designed specifically for the cosmetic aspect. EC sent us over a digital camo kit with Evil Sticks and bullet arrowpad buttons, we put it together and took it for a spin.

Putting the controller together:

The Evil Controllers Kit uses the guts of a standard controller while adding on a few extra pieces. Fortunately, I had a busted controller that was laying around that could absolutely have used a makeover. The process was fairly simple and the directions were straightforward as well. The kit included a torx tool which is what you need to actually open the controller up. The entire process, which you can see in the video, took me about 18 minutes in total, which also included a few minutes of searching for a hidden screw that kept me from opening the controller. Realistically, the entire process is quick and easy, which is great because someone with limited knowledge of putting things together like this could still do it without much trouble.

Putting it to use:

One of the first things that stood out when I started to use my new and improved Evil Controller was the new thumbsticks. The Evil Sticks are convex and a bit softer than than the traditional 360 thumbsticks, much like a Playstation 3 controller. I liked the extra grip since it gave my a little more control over my movements. The new bullet-style dpad buttons worked as advertised, since they are really meant to be used in games like Call of Duty, they provided a precise selection of skills without hitting a direction in between the cardinal points. They didn’t function the best for fighting games or anything that utilized the dpad exclusively but anything else (such as Skyrim) worked like a charm.

Overall:

I am a sucker for aesthetics when it comes to controllers. I want a controller to have a little weight to it but also look sharp as well. Evil Controllers’ entire upgrade library offers everything you would possibly want to create your dream controller. The modular nature of the controller kits will allow you to make any changes that you would need to make quick and easy as well. In the time since I have assembled the controller, it’s been dropped, stepped on, chewed on and thrown. During this time, there hasn’t been a single issue with the durability of the controller. The upgrade kits are simply a cost effective way to customize your gaming experience without dropping serious amounts of money of something that doesn’t fit your style. If you are looking for a way to get a badass looking controller, hit Evil Controllers up, the modded solutions even offer a little something extra for those FPS players as well.

We give the Evil Controllers Custom Kit a 5/5. It is a cost effective and stylish option for those that want to add some personality to their gaming experience.

Apr 272012
 

There’s an elephant in the room, so let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is Sony’s attempt to create a game similar to Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers franchise for the PS3. It was also one of the worst kept secrets. That being said, the second footage hit GameTrailers TV, I flipped out. Quite a few details were released. As GiR’s resident Daniel Kayser lookalike, I’m here to not only have awesome hair, but keep you informed. Instead of you looking all over, I’ve perused the net and compiled a list of as many details as I could. I’ll attempt to touch on everything and mention a few things I noticed.

The Studio:

SuperBot Entertainment is a new studio. The concept for the game began about two and a half years ago within Sony Santa Monica. From there, a team was assembled with the intent on designing this game. Prior to yesterday I was a bit scared at the idea of a new studio tackling this ambitious of a project. I thought it would be hard to combine some of my favorite whimsical, fantasy characters with the more mature franchises. It’s now clear the game is in perfectly capable hands.

The Gameplay:

Unlike Smash Brothers, the game does not have life bars. Kills are only achieved with special moves. Throughout the fight, players will accumulate AP to unlock three increasingly devastating specials. Players can also lose AP through various means. Instead of focusing on staying alive, your primary objective is to build your special meter as quickly as possible and make efficient use of your specials.

Normal attacks are mapped to three buttons: square, triangle, and circle. Combining these with the directionals can give each character around two dozen moves. There are also the abilities to block, roll, air dodge, and grapple. Combos also seem to play a large role.

Like Smash Brothers, there are various pickups in the game. Some of the ones shown include the Spear of Destiny from God of War, the Hedgehog Grenade from Resistance, the RPG-7 from Uncharted, and a gravity shield from WipEout. There were also a few spots where a rain-like energy fell from the sky, but I wasn’t sure if that was triggered by a pickup. I’m sure we’ll be seeing many more of these too.

The Setting:

Levels pose an interesting dynamic. They are all a mash-up of two different worlds. They appear to start off normal, then merge into these beautifully odd combinations. So far, four were shown.

In the Underworld, Hades looms in the background, viciously pounding the ground from time to time. The Patapon warriors appear a little later, sending a hail of arrows into the level. When the two aren’t causing mayhem to the players they are fighting each other.

Metropolis, from the Ratchet and Clank universe, seems fine, until the Hydra from God of War decides to show his ugly heads, devouring hover cars and fighting with Captain Qwark. Exploding crates, conveyer belts, and a trap add to the chaos.

The LittleBigPlanet level starts out as a blank canvas. Over time, the Popit menu adds detail. Eventually Buzz, the trivia game mascot, pops in and players have to answer questions based upon various Playstation franchises. Wrong answers result in being hit with a pie.

I was a bit unsure about the only other level, which appeared to be a mash-up of Hot Shots Golf and Sandover Village from Jak & Daxter. It didn’t seem to be as interactive, except for the fish at the bottom. I may have seen the portal activate once too.

Overall, the levels seem to provide interesting mash-ups, which is something I was disappointed Playstation Move Heroes failed to do. Plus, there are plenty of hazards to keep things interesting. The music is also supposed to follow this mash-up approach, so I look forward to hearing it.

The Cast:

This is what everyone cares about. Sony owns a rather large collection of first party studios and franchises. So far, only a handful of characters (technically a handful plus one) were mentioned. These include some obvious choices and a few interesting ones. Kratos, Sly Cooper, Sweet Tooth, Radec (from Killzone), PaRappa the Rapper, and Fat Princess round out the first six fighters. Here’s a look at some of their characteristics.

Kratos seems to have his entire arsenal. In addition to his traditional blades, I managed to notice the Blade of Olympus, Barbarian Hammer, Spartan spear & shield, Nemean Cestus, and wings of Icarus. I also heard mention of the Bow of Apollo and one of the dismembered heads, although I wasn’t sure if it was similar to Medusa’s Gaze or the Head of Helios. His second special is a magic cyclone ability, and the third special results in Kratos donning the Armor of Ares, granting him a boost in both size and damage.

Sly Cooper is agile and stealthy. Instead of a traditional block like all the others, he becomes invisible. His first special allows him to recruit his brawny buddy, Murray, to unleash his trademark Thunder Flop. His third special uses his Binocucom to take pictures of the players in a first person mode. Anyone caught in the frame is toast.

Sweet Tooth relies heavily on guns and explosives. I saw him planting mines on a few occasions. It was also mentioned that he has a chainsaw and can breathe fire. Hopefully he can freeze people; the combination of fire and ice could be a lot of fun. His ultimate special has him transforming into a huge mech and firing off all kinds of artillery.

Radec also relies heavily on guns and explosives, but does so more from afar. He’s got a sniper rifle that delivers some serious knockback. His ultimate special brings him into first person mode through the use of his jetpack, allowing him to gun down anyone he can get in the crosshairs.

PaRappa is still a bit of a mystery to me, especially since I never played the franchise. He has a boombox that drops AP balls and stuns others, and his specials often incorporate a skateboard. I didn’t get to see it, but apparently his ultimate special plays out much like the old games, and ends by wiping everyone out.

Fat Princess uses all her loyal subject to do her dirty work. In a few situations I saw her riding a chicken too. Her first special was described as hastily running toward a piece of cake, obliterating anyone in her path of destruction. Her ultimate special consisted of an onslaught of her soldiers and mages attacking in every direction.

Within these six characters there seems to be quite a bit of variety. SuperBot also seems to have really put the time in to make sure each character stays true to their universe. As a huge Playstation fan, I’m impressed with the execution and subtle details I’ve seen thus far. There are plenty of characters I anticipate seeing, but I’m really interested to see who they reach out to for third party support (Fingers crossed for Isaac Clarke, a Big Daddy, and Rayman.) With the amount of quality characters from Sony, and third party companies, I’m sure not all of the characters on my wish list will be checked off. Thankfully DLC is a possibility.

I’m already sold. The amount of fan service is right up this Playstation fan’s alley. There were plenty of reveals that already had me smiling, like the inclusion of the Hedgehog Grenade and the fight between Qwark and the Hydra. My mind is racing with the infinite possibilities that leave me anxiously awaiting more details and the day this releases this holiday season.

Apr 272012
 

Earlier last year, there was a rumor floating around that Sony would be creating their own Smash Brothers-esque brawler that would feature characters that were crucial to the PlayStation brand. These rumors were dismissed as here-say and everyone went on their way. This week, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale made it’s first appearance to the masses, it looks cool but also so familiar.

There still doesn’t seem to be much actually known about the game. As far as characters that will be featured in game, Sweet Tooth, Parappa, Sly Cooper, Kratos, Fat Princess and Killzone’s Radec. It appears that each character will have 3 levels of super attacks that will help turn the tide of the fight in your favor. In the video itself, you will see stages that feature the likeness of Ratchet and Clank, God of War, Patapon, Buzz and LittleBigPlanet.

As soon as we can get more detailed info on the game, we will make sure to deliver it to you as immediate as we can! In the meantime here are a few screenshots!

Apr 042012
 

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

MLB 12 The Show

PS Vita

Contains: No Descriptors

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.


There was a time when I bought the annual sports games every year for baseball, football, and basketball. From All Star Baseball ’99 on the N64 to MLB 2K8 on 360, I had bought a baseball video game every year. However since 2008, I haven’t bought a single sports title. Lack of improvement or just change in general from year to year and the desire to not spend $180 or more a year on games that will become obsolete in less than a year were the two main reason I stopped buying sports games. After getting an opportunity to review MLB 12 The Show, I felt like this was the perfect time to jump back into a baseball video game. My only experience with current generation baseball games has been the MLB 2K series, and I was really looking forward to trying out The Show, which has been widely accepted to be the best MLB series by far. After spending dozens of hours with MLB 12 The Show, I tend to agree with this sentiment.

Like I said, I’ve never played any past game in the series, so whether a feature is new for 2012 is completely irrelevant to me, so I’ll just go over my impressions on the game as a whole.

MLB 12 The Show has plenty of modes of play, both online and offline. Offline you’ve got your standard modes like exhibition, season, and franchise, though the mode that really stands out is The Road to the Show mode. In Road to the Show, you create a player and work your way up from the minor leagues with the ultimate goal of being inducted into the hall of fame. This is the mode where I spent the most time, and I have to say it is quite addictive. It’s almost like a role playing game. In order to improve, you have to earn training points, which you get from doing well during games. Training points allow you improve your base attributes, which obviously help you do better. Your manager will also give you goals to complete such as driving in a certain number of runs or limiting your strikeouts over a certain period of time.

You can choose to play any position, and the game does a great job of keeping things moving while still allowing you to control your player where appropriate. By default, the game skips through any action you don’t take part in. If you choose to be a pitcher, you will never have to sit through your own team’s at-bats, and for position players, you only play the field when a ball is hit to your player. This means games can be finished in 10 minutes or less, which allows you to get through a season much quicker than you would in a regular situation. Of course, if you so choose, you can watch the entire game, though it will take much longer to actually reach the majors and countless days worth of playing to finish your career if you want to see all 9 innings of every game. I would have to say Road to the Show is the best version of this type of mode I’ve every played, much better than Superstar mode in Madden, and it is without a doubt one of the prime selling points for the game, along with the robust online offerings.

Before I talk about the online modes, I would just like to note that the game does require an online pass, so if you’re interested in playing online, I would recommend buying the game new. As far as online mode are concerned, you can play a just a standard exhibition game by simply challenging someone from one the game’s many online lobbies. As the challenger, you can adjust the settings to your liking, and there are even lobbies for specific configurations, though the lack of proper quick match or matchmaking, at least for standard games, is a bit puzzling. You can also choose to join a league, which can be great if you are able to find a league with people that are committed to seeing it through. Leagues can range from 8 to 30 players with anywhere from a handful of games to a full 162 game season. You can even choose to have a fantasy draft, which can make things a little more fair rather than those that joined the league first getting their pick of the best teams.

The most unique and intriguing online mode has got to be Diamond Dynasty. Admittedly, I haven’t spent too much time with it thus far, but this is absolutely a mode I can see myself getting sucked into. In Diamond Dynasty, you create a custom team and are given 25 randomly generated players to start out with. As you play games, either against CPU controlled major league teams or online against other players created teams, you earn credits which can be used to either improve your current players, or buy what are essentially booster packs. You can choose to buy Dynasty packs, which are cheaper and contain randomly generated players, or MLB packs, which are more expensive and contain real Major League players. The catch is, you will only have the MLB players for a small amount of games, while the random players can be improved with credits and can remain on your team for significantly longer. There are many more layers to this mode which I am not going to get into here, but suffice it to say, this is a pretty robust competitive mode that has the potential to be very addicting.

Feb 172012
 

 

Love is in the air this week but forget chocolate, flowers and a romantic meal for two, there’s no time for all that when the Reapers are coming. Mass Effect 3 is one of the most anticipated games of 2012 and there isn’t long to wait till you can all get your hands on it. If you can’t wait for March you can download a quite pleasurable demo of the game that was released on tuesday Feb 14th by Bioware. The Mass Effect series has followed the story of one ruthless hero that goes by the name of Commander Shepard and the war against the Reapers. The third instalment of Mass Effect is the Final of Shepard’s story and is set to be one hell of a finale. With an intense story, new characters, an all new levelling system that now hits level 60 and all new ways to play. The first two games were originally Xbox 360 Exclusives and now gamers with an Xbox and Kinect have a new exclusive feature.

When I first bought my Kinect over a year ago I used it to play a couple of games, after a few months it just became an ornament on my TV unit. There just wasn’t and to be honest still aren’t games for the more mature gamer. After finding out last year that ME3 was to have Kinect integration my heart stopped at the thought of one of my favourite titles may be ruined by this. But after a demonstration at E3 I was optimistic. The demo allows you to play two sections of the game and even customise Shepard, but i’m here to give you Gaming Irresponsibly’s opinion on whether Kinect is a good addition or not.

 

First of all Kinect only brings voice recognition, so you’ll be happy to know you won’t be waving your arms about in battle. The voice commands come in handy when in combat, with the ability to command your comrades to move up and take cover, use special abilities like Warp, Throw and Singularity. Not only that you can also use the commands to uses Shepard’s abilities. Changing your weapon and healing team mates is easier than ever too, simply say, “First Aid” or your weapon of choice eg. “Assault Rifle” or “Heavy Pistol”  and hey presto it does exactly as you say. Also when you approach a door, need to salvage items, examine something or activate a switch commands like “Open” “Salvage” “Examine” and “Activate” are available. The combat commands are awesome and come in very handy, great for multi tasking when under attack from numerous enemies. Yes, girls this game allows guys to multi task, you aren’t the only ones anymore. When it comes to the opening of doors and activating things though it just seems pointless. Yes it adds a futuristic feel to opening a door with your voice (I mean wouldn’t that be awesome)  but when playing ME3 pressing “A” is easier, especially when sometimes Kinect doesn’t respond to your command and you’re sat there shouting “Open” at your TV.

Which brings me to how well Kinect responds to your voice, well from what I witnessed in the demo I must say it works very well. There were some sketchy moments like I said with doors and sometimes didn’t respond to me when in combat (I then died). Compared to another game that wasn’t made just for Kinect like Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Mass Effect 3 triumphs. Halo CE was unbelievably buggy and very annoying when playing with friends over Xbox Live, I would say to him “oh crap, I only have one plasma grenade left” and all of a sudden he now has a plasma grenade stuck to his back and BOOM! DEAD! Very frustrating. But saying that I haven’t been able to test Kinect’s features on the multiplayer due to internet problems so I may be wrong and the same problems may occur on Mass Effect.

Finally the main greatest use for Kinect on ME3 is conversations. Wow, I have never been so laid back and relaxed when having a conversation with someone on the game. Before in previous Mass Effect games you had to sit there twiddling your thumb to the option you want and pressing “A” a number of times. Now you can just sit back with a drink, place your controller down and have the conversation as if you were Shepard. One of the best uses for Kinect to date in my opinion. You aren’t just controlling Shepard anymore, you ARE Shepard.

Over all this addition to the Mass Effect series is a good move by Bioware. Kinect now adds a more realistic and social feel to ME3 and I would love to see these features added to future games like; the Fallout Series, Elder Scrolls (FUS RO DAH!!!!) and other RPG’s. Anyone who owns a Kinect should try this out at least once and see how you feel about it, if you don’t you can always revert back to the good old controller functions. Also If you want to take the story and gameplay seriously I recommend only using Kinect when alone though because I had a friend round when playing and he thought it would be hilarious to change my weapon every few seconds and choose dialogue I didn’t want to use.

Mass Effect 3 will be available on:

March 6th (US)

March 9th (Europe)

The battle is over, now its time to win the war!

Feb 132012
 

Ah, all these new Xbox rumors… How utterly delightful. I brought up before how bad the name Xbox 720 was, soon after that a ton of the hype surrounding the story of a new Xbox went quiet. People finally took time to focus on the current gen and talk about the latest games and gadgets heading our way. The 2 incidents were unrelated, but it was good to see some awesome coverage on what the systems in our houses could sill do. Then, out of the fucking blue, metric crap tons of rumors started to show up about a “New Xbox”

This eyesore has been one of my favorites as a "potential mock-up". We'll call it the Spaaaaaaaaaace-Box from now on. Yeah, that is a Portal 2 reference it you didn't catch it.

The new Xbox would only use digital content.

  • It will be 6 times more powerful and come with a new kinect 2.
  • The new Xbox would not play used or rental games.
  • The new Xbox is a TV.
  • The new Xbox is a personal computer (This one happens to be one of my favorites. Are you fucking serious? That is called a PC!)
  • The new Xbox will use a tablet like controller with HD visuals and touch screen display.
  • The new Xbox will use an always on DDS like Steam that is integrated with Windows 8
  • The new Xbox is bigger on the inside because of Time and Relative Dimension in Space.

 

There is a big problem with just about every single rumor here people, there have been NO CONFIRMED STATEMENTS about this new system. In fact, nearly everything is reported as “sources say”, which is a huge issue because anyone can be a source. Will we see a new system any time soon? There is a possibility since the Wii-U and the PlayStation Vita are going to be large focuses this year. The more likely solution would be to see the new systems drop by 2013-2014.

Something that staff members have pointed out (and are very legitimate points) are that there is still a possibility that these rumors do have their origins from fact. Some companies have a habit of leaking “rumors” about a product to see what the market’s reaction will be (I am looking at you, Apple). Once again, that doesn’t mean the next generation system is going to be a TV or not play used games, it means that there might have been something that could have been considered to some extent as they draw up ideas.

While it is true that our current generation of gaming consoles are at the end of their lifecycle, it’s important that we look at this with a realistic approach. Great games continue to launch on these systems, the gap between PC and console continues to grow larger with each launch. The modular nature of the PC will always give it a leg up on the competition but it is still important to try to get as close as possible to a similar experience. Things like multiplayer limits and graphic levels that are considerably lower than their PC counterparts create a lesser experience for users and lower the value of a game.

Personally, I will be very excited to actually find out any concrete information about the next Xbox (hell, it may not even be called that!). I will also be excited for more info on the Wii-U and the next Playstation as well. However, do not expect the site or myself to jump all over silly rumors until there is some sort of substantiated proof that we can use to back our statements.

 

Jan 262012
 

Capcom is at it again, Tekken X Street Fighter will now feature 2 new exclusive characters… if you have a Sony System.

Two of videogaming’s most iconic characters are entering the ring and going toe to toe. Exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of Street Fighter X Tekken, Capcom’s very own Mega Man will be joined by Namco’s mascot, Pac-Man.

For the first time, the version of Mega Man featured on the original Mega Man 1 box art will make the jump from the cover to be a playable character, with Pac-Man taking on all challengers as he rides atop Mokujin.
Check out the trailer to see these guys in action. Holy hell, Mega Man! What have they done to you!

Jan 082012
 

Sony’s newest portable device, the Playstation Vita, recently hit stores in Japan. Reviews on it were mixed. Before it launched in Japan though, we were able to take the Vita for a spin ourselves. At the time, we weren’t privy to a lot of details but even without full disclosure, the system has potential to be something big.

The first thing I noticed when I handled the Vita was the fact that it was slightly larger than the standard PSP system. Although it was a slight bit larger, it certainly felt much more solid than the PSP. The touchpad on the back has a noticeably different texture from the rest of the system, meaning that it is quite easy to catch yourself if you have wandering fingers. Overall, the PS Vita doesn’t look aesthetically different than the traditional PSP. It is definitely a different system but someone could tell you that the PSP was given a slight redesign.

The goal here is to roll that orange nugget around and pick up stars until a black-hole appears

The first game I played was a title called Little Deviants. The title is a mini game compilation that focuses on the use of front and back touch panels, augmented reality features and dual analog sticks as well. A few of the games really feel like the free augmented reality games that came with the Nintendo 3DS, but there were a couple other games that really helped the title stand out on it’s own. The minigame I spent the most time with was a game where I rolled my deviant around throughout labrynth stlye mazes that were peppered with hazards like enemies and spikes. The movement of the deviant is dictated by my ability to push up or push down the ground with the use of the touch panels. This feature ultimately was pretty cool since it operated very smooth and showed the response of the touch panels. Some puzzles in the game called for creative use of these features as well, having me create jumps or foxholes to get by obstacles as well. I have no doubt that Little Deviants will be an entertaining launch day title in February.

This one is still more or less the same game we have been playing since the original Wipeout on PS1

The next game I played was Wipeout 2048, one of Playstation’s better known racing franchises. When I played Wipeout 2048, I was able to make use of the tilt functions of the Vita, allowing me to bank into turns with realistic steering. The game also utilizes the touch screen to attack other players and make use of certain weapons. One of the coolest features I got to use with Wipeout 2048 though was the ability to play the game cross platform by playing alongside others in Wipeout HD Fury. The feature (which we saw detailed briefly at E3) allows the Vita player to race on HD Fury maps with PS3 users, meaning that Vita players will not be limited to silly Ad hoc modes in order to play games online. Although the features that Wipeout 2048 uses are quite unique, there were times that I felt like I didn’t have enough fingers to do everything I wanted to while playing.

In-game graphics are quite amazing, don't you think?

The real gem of the PS Vita demo though was Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Unlike the other games we had an opportunity to play, Uncharted: Golden Abyss wasn’t focused on heavily using the Vita’s special features. Instead, Uncharted: Golden Abyss was an experience showing the early potential of the system.  The game showcased visuals that could easily be compaired to the original Uncharted on PS3 but also amazing particle effects on things like fire and water. Initially, I was concerned about the functionality of a game like Uncharted being on a portable system, since the game has always been about finding that next jump or seeing enemies before they see you. For the platform sections of the game, Uncharted: Golden Abyss uses one of two different methods. For the traditionalist, Drake is still completely controllable as he is in any of the console games, making full use of the dual analog sticks and shoulder buttons. The Vita also showcased a “Paint mode”, in it you can trace the path you want Drake to take and he will follow it… mostly. As with any Uncharted game, ledges may crumble and pipes may break, so Drake will still stop at these points, making you have to retrace his path. I was perfectly okay with this feature since it does not take away from any of the original excitement that is in all Uncharted games.

The future in portable gaming?

The Vita itself differs from it’s next-gen portable counterpart, the 3DS, mainly due to the fact that the system isn’t focused on a singular feature. The PS Vita offers a graphical improvement over it’s predecessor and better control placement than the PSP (way better than the PSP Go). We can only hope that with the superior launch lineup will indeed give us a solid portable system launch that doesn’t result in a massive price drop after a few months.

What are your thoughts on the Vita? Which game are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comment section below, you’ve got no excuses, you don’t even need to create an account!

Dec 142011
 

One of the flagship titles for the PS3′s Move controller was a title called ‘Sorcery.’  Virtually overnight, the PlayStation move demo became one of the most anticipated motion control titles.  That was back in E3 2010 and the team behind sorcery has been silent since then… until now.

Sorcery as shown in E3 2010

The PlayStation blog website has published a hands-on feature with the title.  The footage shown shows an older protagonist and bigger more menacing enemies.  The website also interviewed Brian Upton, the design director of the project, who details some of the changes the game has undergone since its unveiling.

The current build of Sorcery

The interview also revealed that Sorcery is “on-track” to be released this spring.  Read the full interview and check out some in-game footage over at PlayStation Blog.

Dec 042011
 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has finally arrived! The official release date for the Back to Karkand Map Pack has been released after months of teaser trailers.

The Playstation 3 will get the expansion pack on December 6th. Everyone else will get it one week later, on December 13th.

For those who don’t know, the Back to Karkand Expansion pack will contain Frostbite 2.0 remakes of four of the best Battlefield 2 maps. The expansion will include the 4 maps, 10 new weapons, 3 BF 2 vehicles and 1 completely new one! There will also be 5 new achievements/trophies.

From what I saw in the trailers, it looks like some sweet new vertical-takeoff jets will be arriving on the battlefield in the coming weeks. The maps will be put into the normal map rotation, and the weapons will be unlocked using a new “Assignment” system. Even better, the new weapons will be available on ALL of the maps, not just the new ones. The 13th just couldn’t come quicker…

Which map are you most looking forward to seeing return with remastered graphics and destruction?

Nov 222011
 

After Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Kojima parted ways with the action series and declared the storyline to be finished.  That’s what he wanted gamers to believe.  Now, the trickster Kojima now says that a Metal Gear Solid 5 is a possibility.

Speaking with Official Playstation Magazine UK, Kojima stated that a Metal Gear Solid 5 will most likely happen, but his involvement in the title would be minimal.

“I think we’ll probably have to make it at some point, but what that will be, we have no idea,” said Kojima.  “As far as my involvement in the project is concerned, [it] probably won’t be as much as it was with MGS1 – maybe I can do just one stage! For MGS1 I made the maps myself, laid out the enemy routes myself, did everything hands-on – that level I can’t do again.”

Kojima said that he tried to put some work at first into Metal Gear Solid 4, but ended up directing the title.  Ultimately, it’s either he takes creative control of an entire game or takes no part in it.

“I intended to take it to a certain point and then hand it off, but that didn’t work, because it’s hard to convey the concept to other people then have them take the reins and carry on and preserve that vision. That’s why it’s easier to have them [the design team] come up with everything from the start and then take it to the end.”

Source: Official Playstation Magazine UK

Oct 312011
 

To celebrate the arrival of Halloween, Sqaure Enix is launching a sweepstakes competition which will run over the next three months, Top prizes include a PS Vita console as well as a monthly draw for a copy of Army Corps of Hell, one at the end of each month.

Army Corps of Hell allows you to command an army of goblins in a battle to reclaim the King of Hells Throne, throughout the course of the game you will have access to multiple classes of goblin, with some skill required in order to battle your way back to the top. there will also be extra systems, such as the ability to craft items to strengthen your army, with the controls relying heavily on the consoles rear touchpad.

To be in with a chance of winning, just head on over to the Army Corps of Hell Facebook Page, all you have to do is Like the page, then if you choose to share the page with your friends, you will be granted one bonus entry.